:::::: Editorials ::::::

UP FRONT - ITS TIME FOR A COMPLETE HOUSE CLEANING AT NHRA

4-17-08asherupfront.jpgThe
embarrassment that was the Summitracing.com Nationals in Las Vegas
should be placed directly where the blame belongs – at the doorstep of
the National Hot Rod Association.  The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is completely blameless for the fiasco, particularly after

track management reportedly informed NHRA that they had already scraped
the track, but NHRA went ahead and scraped it again anyway.  The
NHRA not only owes track owner Bruton Smith a sincere apology, they owe
the same apology to Summit Racing Equipment, their other sponsors, the
competitors and, most of the all, to the fans who paid good money to
see a lousy show.
 
Compounding
an already disastrous weekend was NHRA’s bumbling of the announcement
of the $100,000 fine levied against Don Schumacher for an alleged fuel
violation.  Rather than wait until Tuesday, when
the media would have been scattered to the winds, and getting reactions
from Schumacher and Graham Light would have been problematical, the
announcement was made Sunday afternoon, resulting in a media feeding
frenzy.  That was further compounded by Light’s reported less-then-professional statement during the event telecast Sunday night.
 
While
we’ve heard cooler heads were advising holding off any announcement,
Light was apparently adamant about its immediate importance, forcing us
to ask, Was this about a real issue, or was it more about Light being
desirous of demonstrating his own power and importance?

AS WE SEE IT – A STRONG CASE OF INEPT TRACK PREP AND MORE

4-15-08vegastrack.jpgMaybe the NHRA truly just doesn’t get it.

Maybe they just don’t understand true race fans are no longer
interested in forking out hundreds of dollars to watch nitro cars
compete in quarter-mile burnout contests.

When thirteen of sixteen races are won in the same lane in the same
round, which occurred this past weekend in the first round of the
SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Dragway, there is a serious
problem. A problem not explained away by suggesting the track was hot,
because both lanes were under the same sunny conditions yet one lane
was garbage and the other was a little bit better.

The NHRA's defense of the product touts attendance figures which are at
an all time high. While attendance may be up, the quality of the
product is moving in the opposite direction.

On television, the presentation looked horrible. In person it was even
worse. Event after event, one of the announcers stands on the wall
prior to the finals and delivers his traditional speech of gratitude to
those in attendance.   “We realize you have many options when spending
your entertainment dollar and on behalf of the NHRA, we’d like to thank
you for spending it with us.”

NORM FROSCHER: GOD BLESS THE LADIES

2-18-08froscherladies.jpgThe ladies, God Bless them!
  
No, this isn't about Hillary Clinton.
  
Or even one's wife as a means of making up after an argument.
   
This is about the fairer sex, some pretty danged hard-nosed, in the
rough and tumble world of racing. Yep, driving, riding, publicizing and
writing about.
     
As you probably realize, it wasn't always so.
  
Far from it, in the arena or even in the garage or on the media side of things.

GUEST EDITORIAL WITH DON LONG - "IT’S TIME TO STRAIGHTEN OUT THIS CHASSIS MESS"

2-15-08donlong.jpgMy name is Don Long.  For
more than five decades I’ve designed and built Top Fuel dragsters, cars that
have won more races than I can count, along with numerous championships and
builder’s awards that I’m very proud of. 
But, the thing I’m most proud of is my chassis safety record, which is
perfect.

I’ve been actively involved with SFI since it first came into
existence.  I was the senior member of
the former (disbanded June 7, 2006) SFI Chassis Committee.  There’s been enough written about the SFI in
recent months for it to be unnecessary for me to explain what it is and what
it’s supposed to do.

For those of you having difficulty understanding – and even
coherently reading – the recent SFI Top Fuel Chassis Spec, please be assured
that it’s not you.  This spec has become
almost completely incomprehensible on both the scientific and interpretive
levels due to a number of factors.

UP FRONT - RANDOM THOUGHTS AS THE SEASON BEGINS

2-13-08asherupfront.jpgDrag racing, on both the
NHRA and IHRA side of the track, is at an important crossroads.  The decisions made, or not made , over the
next year or so will go a long way towards determining the sport’s long term
future.  Will it grow into the mega-sport
many think it could become, or will it continue to more or less muddle along,
never quite reaching the heights we’d all hoped for?

UP FRONT - RANDOM THOUGHTS AS THE SEASON BEGINS

2-13-08asherupfront.jpgDrag racing, on both the
NHRA and IHRA side of the track, is at an important crossroads.  The decisions made, or not made , over the
next year or so will go a long way towards determining the sport’s long term
future.  Will it grow into the mega-sport
many think it could become, or will it continue to more or less muddle along,
never quite reaching the heights we’d all hoped for?

AS WE SEE IT - LEAD, FOLLOW OR GET OUT OF THE WAY

1-20-08asweseeit.jpgIn this world there are leaders and there are followers. As we see it, in the drag racing world, NHRA management has settled into a position that suits them well -- following.

Where do we start; with the championship format or maybe we should make a run at the still unpublished Funny Car specs?

Forgive us, isn't the SFI responsible for providing the specifications; at least that’s what the NHRA has said for years and is even now telling their critics. John Force Racing and Ford’s engineers are designing a new chassis and we are waiting for the results of their tests. 

Since when is an entity outside of the SFI and a competing race team responsible for establishing  chassis designs and specifications?

A CATALYST FOR THE NEW YEAR

Isn’t it funny how the simple things that seem so insignificant in our young lives can make such a huge impact as we age?

Take for instance a simple word - catalyst, I used to dislike the word, but now I thank God for it.

This dislike can be traced to the fifth grade when the difference
between an average and above average grade on a vocabulary test was the
word catalyst.

I thought it was a part on a car and answered accordingly.

SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT - THE FACTS AND FICTIONS REGARDING THE HDP ACQUISITION

Len Romanick is owner and principal of Quid Pro Know, a North Brunswick,
NJ-based freelance research company. He will spend the next few weeks walking the Torco's CompetitionPlus.com readership through the ins and outs of the proposed acquisition of the NHRA's professional racing assets by the HD
Partners Acquisition Corp. (HDP)
and dispelling the speculation that has permeated the drag racing community since the potential deal was announced in May.
 
This is his first installment on the topic. - Editor

Within hours of the public announcement on May 30th
of the proposed acquisition of the NHRA’s professional racing assets by the HD
Partners Acquisition Corp. (HDP), the racing press and online message
boards/forums went into swooning, virtual hyperventilation. Banner headlines
pronounced “NHRA—Sold!” or, “NHRA Under New Ownership.” No doubt, the choice of
verbage was deliberate so as to attract attention through shock, but these
grossly incorrect opening media salvos set the tone for the misinformation
feeding frenzy that followed on the message boards: A smorgasborg of stunned
uncertainty and confusion as well as some hysterical—sometimes hysterically
funny—tirades, rants, ramblings and dire warnings of impending doom.

OUR TAKE – IT WAS A MISSION OF HEALING

11-16-07powdragster.jpgThere are times in our lives when we do good things simply because it’s right to do them.

Turn back the clock to a time when the next season of drag racing was
just around the corner. Evan Knoll, ensconced in a gliding chair,
mulled over the various possible ways in which Melanie Troxel’s new
dragster could be used to benefit various charities. Somewhere around 3
am, it came to us, Knoll and myself, how we could both help and honor a
huge group of people who in a time long past felt more spit upon than
welcomed.

An elaborate plan of featuring various charities was replaced with a
plan to honor war veterans, especially the Vietnam veterans, because in
our minds, they’d had to stand at the back of the honor line for far too
long. We wanted to include the National League of POW-MIA Families
because unfortunately, we’ve still got over 1,700 servicemen
unaccounted and missing despite the war being over for 35 years.

Our focus decided I would place the first call to driver Melanie Troxel
informing her of the game plan. Her response sounded as if she was
confused. “Okaaaay,” she responded, adding that she would immerse
himself in project having no real connection to the Vietnam War
herself. Troxel was still a young impressionable child at the time the
conflict came to a close.

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